A retired lawyer and accomplished public speaker, Pamela Ewen is the author of three books. She also co-founder of the Northshore Literary Society in the Greater New Orleans Metro area north of Lake Pontchartrain. Recently she was honored with the 2009 Literary Artist of the Year Award by the St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana Arts Council.
Her novel Secret of the Shroud (formerly titled Walk Back the Cat) is enjoying its re-release as of September 1st 2010. It has a beautiful new cover and additional content.
5 Minutes with Pamela Ewen.
1) Not every author gets a chance to go back to their first novel and give it a fresh start. What is the one thing that you where able to accomplish with this chance that you are excited about?
Walk Back The Cat (the original printing of Secret of the Shroud) was published several years ago. It’s unusual to rerelease a book like this. But an unusual turn of events warranted the rerelease. As you may know, the Shroud has only been publicly displayed four times since its original exhibition in the 1300s. The next public viewing has for years been scheduled for 2025. Last May however, the Vatican (current owner of the Shroud) held a surprise exhibition and I believe this occurred because it has now been fairly well established that the Shroud is the actual burial cloth of Jesus. This is a new and exciting position for the Vatican to take. Previously their official position was somewhat unclear. My husband, Jimmy, and I traveled to Turin , Italy to attend the exhibition with Barrie Schwortz, one of the world’s most knowledgable experts on the Shroud. He is not only the documentary photographer of the Shroud, but also maintains an enormously influential web site on which almost all scientific publications on this mysterious artifact can be found. My publisher and I realized the significance of the public change in mindset about the Shroud, and wanted to update Walk Back The Cat, which is fiction based on fact—the actual facts and research on the Shroud—and we also wanted to change the title to more accurately reflect the focus of the story. In addition, Barrie gave us permission to use his famous photograph of the face of the Man of the Shroud in the book. It’s amazing. And we were able to place beneath the photo a quote given on May 2nd, during the Exhibition, from Pope Benedict XVI. The quote makes it clear that this cloth reflects the image of only one person—the Messiah.
2) I loved your blog post where your characters were all talking to one another. If you could sit down with Wesley Bright and have dinner, what would that evening be like?
Wesley Bright represents a composite of ‘so-called’ religious experts who have built their careers on the idea that Jesus was only a man with a good message, not the Christ. Controversy sells. I wrote my first book, the non-fiction book Faith On Trial to counter that idea with objective, factual evidence. Christianity is the only world religion based upon statements of facts testified to by witnesses. I was a lawyer for 25 years and I know that a fact can either be proven or it cannot be proven. After many years of research and reviewing evidence surrounding the Gospel testimony—archeological evidence, writings of contemporaries at the time, medical evidence, scientific evidence, etc.—I found a powerful chain of proof to support the fundamental principles of Christianity. This is a rock-solid foundation for faith, and for those who have questions. So I would sit down with Wesley Bright and tell him that the burden of proof for these ‘Christianity lite’ or pop-psychology ideas about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and even the existence of the Divine, is now on his shoulders. Perhaps we’d start with whatever proof he could come up with—objective facts and reasoning- not speculation– as to how the universe came into being .
3) Now, for a little about you. What is your strangest possession?
It’s the hair of a sacred white elephant from Siam, now known as Thailand. In The Moon in the Mango Tree, a story based on a period of my grandmother’s life in the 1920’s, there is a scene involving my grandmother confronting a sacred white elephant owned by the King of Siam. My grandfather at the time (1926) was the royal physician to the King, and as such, he was the only person allowed to touch the white elephants other than the King and the elephant’s mahout. In this scene, as a result of my grandmother’s involvement with the elephant (I don’t want to spoil the story by describing it), a young Siamese princess cut a hair from the elephant’s tail when no one was watching, and presented it to my grandmother afterwards. My grandfather had the hair wound in a circle around a topaz on a gold bracelet for her as a gift. I have the bracelet today.
4) What do you use as bookmarks in your personal reading?
I have to confess, I order thousands of bookmarks a year for my books and you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem. But nevertheless, I’m a terrible page bender!
5) What is the last GREAT book that you’ve read and why?
OKAY. I HAVE to talk about TWO last great books that I’ve read. First, The Missing, by Tim Geautreaux. This book, set in the 18th century world of Mississippi River Steamboats ,is one of the finest I’ve ever read. The plot was absorbing. The character development was not only masterful, but the voice and manner of the characters were so authentic that as a reader I felt that I’d stepped into another world.
The second is The Glass Rainbow, by my cousin James Lee Burke. His writing is lyrical and deeply philosophical, which is quite amazing to find in a mystery series. He just seems to have unending talent. In this story, he explores several ideas that have long intrigued me, such as the nature of ‘time’. This is something I also delved into in Secret of the Shroud. Think of all the different theories that exist on this subject. There is our time (mankind’s), which is chronological. And God’s time, about which we can only speculate, but which probably isn’t chronological. Einstein’s theories of relative time, linear time, quantum theories, etc., etc. You could go on forever (no pun intended)!
I want to thank Pamela for taking the time out of her busy tour schedule to answer a few questions for my first ever author interview. You can learn more about Pamela and her books at her website: www.pamelaewen.com or order Secret of the Shroud at B&N, Amazon, or Book Depository.
Filed under: 5 Minutes with, books | Tagged: 5 Minutes with, Faith on Trial, Glass Rainbow, James Lee Burke, Pamela Ewen, Secret of the Shroud, The Missing, The Moon in the Mango Tree, Tim Geautreaux |